City Hall, Public Employees Inch Toward Agreement

The current four-year contract expired at the end of June
Gilroy – The city’s biggest union and City Hall negotiators have reached a “tentative oral agreement” on a new contract, a union official said, but city council members have yet to sign off on the deal.

Council did not take any formal action Monday after a closed session meeting on labor negotiations with the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME #101), a group that represents 124 city employees.

AFSCME president Rodger Maggio said the two sides reached an oral agreement last Friday after meeting earlier in the week with a state mediator.

He would not disclose any details of the agreement until presenting the proposal to union members at the end of the week.

AFSCME’s current four-year contract, known as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), officially expired at the end of June but remains in effect until a new contract is signed. The MOU spells out salary ranges, benefits, and working conditions for the union’s employees. The union spans all city departments and includes businesses administrators, custodians, engineers, secretaries, planners. It does not include department heads or sworn members of the fire and police departments.

While city officials do not discuss ongoing contract negotiations, they have publicly positioned themselves in recent months as strongly favoring caps on city contributions toward employee health care premiums and retirement plans.

Such demands have contributed to an impasse with Fire Local #2805 and driven the city and fire union toward the second round of binding arbitration in just five years. The dispute-resolution procedure involves using an outside arbitrator to settle contract disagreements.

Last week, City Hall and AFSCME negotiators also called in a “facilitator” from the California Department of Industrial Relations, although officials stressed the move did not represent an official breakdown in talks.

The city and AFSCME representatives have struck labor deals without outside help during the last two rounds of bargaining.

Leave your comments